Diamonds, computers and robots available as poll symbols

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: What is common between diamonds, computers, robots and pen drives? Well! These are symbols up for grabs for unrecognised political parties when many states head for Assembly polls next year. These are part of a list of 197 available symbols notified by the Election Commission recently.While symbols are reserved for national and state political parties, unrecognised political parties and independent candidates have to choose from the free symbols to fight elections.

These symbols often come as a rescue in case of a split within political parties. Allotment of ‘helicopter’ as election symbol to Chirag Paswan’s faction and ‘sewing machine’ to the faction led by Pashupati Kumar Paras is a case in point.

This was not the first time when the Commission had to freeze the original symbol while allotting different symbols to two factions after a split within a party. Split within the AIADMK had witnessed similar scenario when the Election Commission decided to freeze the iconic ‘two leaves’ symbol. The Commission allotted that symbol to the Palaniswami-Panneerselvam faction, ruling that they enjoyed the support of the majority in the party.

Independent candidates or someone contesting on behalf of an unrecognised party have to approach the Commission for a symbol allotted from the list available. As per rules, a candidate has to provide three symbols from the free list at the time of submission of nomination papers, one of which will be allocated to him/her. 

In case a recognised political party splits, the Commission decides which faction uses the symbol. In the case of Samajwadi Party, the Commission had allotted ‘bicycle’ to the Akhilesh Yadav faction.As per Para 15 of the Symbols Order, 1968, when the Commission is satisfied that there are rival sections of a recognised party claiming to be that party, the Commission may decide that one such rival section or none of such rival sections is that party. Decision of the Commission is binding on all such rival sections or groups.